NWS IWT Workshop 2021

One of the greatest honors of my emergency management career so far was to be invited as one of the guest speakers for the National Weather Service’s Integrated Warning Team Workshop 2021!

The topic of this year’s IWT Workshop was, “Understanding Each Other’s Roles, Responsibilities and Operations as it relates to Hazardous Winter Weather.

This workshop gave us the opportunity to bring together members of the response community from the NWS, school districts, emergency management, first responders, MoDOT, the media, and many more sectors for a discussion on winter weather and how to prepare for it on multiple fronts.

Below you will find the agenda for the meeting.

My counterpart from Branson Fire Department, Fire Chief Ted Martin, joined me to discuss our views in the Emergency Management Sector. We discussed a number of topics regarding how we interact with our partners throughout all levels of the government, private, and public sectors, how we push out information via media (traditional and social), the tools we use to track incidents that may result in disaster declarations for our county and MORE! You can find our agenda below. I think we covered a wide range of topics that emergency management directors from all over the region are concerned with and provided our contact information in case anyone needed or wanted to speak with us afterward.

My time, when I wasn’t presenting, was spent taking notes on how to increase the Camden County EMA’s effectiveness at interoperability for mutually beneficial results!

I learned a lot about the efforts MoDOT makes and about their offices’ reporting information for damaged guard rails and guard cables. I learned if they have pink or orange paint on them, MoDOT is aware of them and will fix them as soon as possible. Many of these damaged rails and cables occur as a direct result of drivers losing control of their vehicles during winter weather.

From the schools, I learned about many of the variables they need to consider and discuss when they are making the decision to close for inclement weather. While it may seem simple, it is not. For example, not only do they consider bus drivers and their routes and roads if there is or will be snow, but they also consider 16-17-year-old inexperienced drivers and their ability to go to and from school safely. The 4:15 AM conference calls with the NWS go a long way in assisting them with their decisions based on how sure the NWS is that inclement weather will be an issue.

Finally, the outlook for Winter 2021-2022 is trending toward a La Nina pattern. You can find an article about the NOAA information here.

Thank you to the team at the NWS which works to bring these IWT Workshops to us. It is a tremendous effort to bring so many people (87 in this workshop was the highest number I observed) from a wide array of sectors together so we can form a common operating picture and situational awareness as we work together to protect the same thing: Life Safety.

Published by camdensam

I became the Director of Camden County, MO Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in August 2021 after previously serving as the agency's Deputy Director for a year. As the Director, I manage the day-to-day operations of the EMA, work on the Local Emergency Operations Plan, manage the Facebook, Twitter, and website for the EMA, oversee the webpages for the Camden County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), oversee and run exercises for the Camden County, MO Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and work with the Camden County, MO Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). I hold a general class amateur radio license, call sign KE0LMY. I am also the official "Bee Keeper" of our mascot, Buzzer the Bee, who wants you to BEE Prepared!!! I'm a certified CERT trainer and WebEOC trainer for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.

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